Tuesday, December 21, 2010

into uncharted territory

I now find myself at episode 38 of "The Great Queen Seon Deok," which catches me up and puts me into uncharted territory. Kim Yusin, the love of Deokman's life, has prostrated himself before the evil Misil in an attempt to save his native people, the Gaya folk. Although he loathes her, Yusin is offering to marry Misil to save his people. At the same time, he's promised Deokman that, although he and she can never consummate their love (goddamn typical for a Korean drama), he will master the art of war and help her unify the Three Kingdoms under the Silla Dynasty banner.

I looked Kim Yusin ("yoo-sheen") up on Wikipedia and discovered that he's one of Korea's most famous military minds-- right up there with Yi Soonshin. I wonder whether any of his military writings have been translated into English. That, folks, would be classic.

Sometime later, I might want to write at length about the series, which I've found to be very compelling viewing. It has its hokey moments, to be sure, but the epic scale of the drama, along with all that castle intrigue, makes it must-see viewing for anyone who's enjoyed Shakespeare's take on royal family dysfunction, martial honor, insanity, the vengefulness of the scorned, and the curdled admixture of religion, black magic, and the state. Shakespeare lovers: "The Great Queen Seon Deok" has all those themes and tropes in spades.

I've enjoyed the ride so far, and look forward to finding out how it all ends. It's going to be a sad thing when I finish the final episode.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Yusin's not marrying Misil herself: he's marrying into her family by betrothing himself to her granddaughter, a girl who's far too young for Yusin. I guess I didn't catch what was really going on, despite the subtitles. That, or the script was crafted in such a way as to fool even Korean viewers as to whom Yusin was truly marrying.


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